In the middle of Serra da Gardunha, we find a peculiar yet captivating village with dazzling landscapes amidst green and grey.
Castelo Novo is unlike everything we know, a Historical Village with granite constructions and a maze of streets, where we yearn to lose ourselves – and never again be found.
One of the legends associated with the old days in Castelo Novo is also curious, a story with biblical contours. The people of Castelo Novo say that, at the time, a girl named Belisandra lived near the village. Accused of witchcraft, she lived alone, only in the company of a cat. Whenever Belisandra had to go to the village, she had to endure the murmur of voices, mocking laughs, and contempt from the inhabitants of Castelo Novo. The truth is that, in moments of affliction, many ran to Belisandra, but only in secret. People in the village would say that the girl controlled the sun and rain, cured illnesses, and taught the best way to conceive baby boys. And even though she knew she would have to face the mockery of Castelo Novo’s inhabitants, Belisandra never refused help to anyone.
One day, when the people were preparing to harvest the fruits of their labor in the crop fields, a thick cloud came from the sky and covered the sun. Suddenly, they realized that it was a plague of grasshoppers. Desperate, and for the first time, the villagers of Castelo Novo joined together to ask Belisandra for help. To everyone’s horror, the girl advised them to make a procession towards Senhora da Misericórdia since she was the only one who could help. The people heeded her advice and made the procession. Legend has it that the procession was making its way to the public square when the grasshoppers started to drop dead. The people then promised to make a procession every year, and they kept their word, because they maintain this tradition to this very day (today, it takes place in September).
The Historical Village of Castelo Novo includes enchanting scenery. Everything here looks like it came from a time when we would have liked to have lived, when damsels trailed their long dresses through sidewalks and knights scrambled for their attention. The castle ruins of military architecture, where only a square tower remains today, makes us think about stories of forbidden love and great battles where the Knights Templar, to which Castelo Novo belonged, regained this village from the Muslims. Castelo Novo is a place that, like the other Historical Villages, conquers us upon arrival. And there is so much fascination that, upon leaving, we cannot help but promise to return one day to the rememberable village of Castelo Novo.